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must be careful not to set up maxims which will destroy the trustworthiness of all history. I do not believe that a practice which, at the present day, would be universally condemned as deception and fraud, was, at any period of the Jewish or Christian Church, generally approved as right. In our ignorance of the manner in which the writer first offered the work to his contemporaries, its first readers, - it may be hoped, but not confidently asserted, that he intended to practise no deception. It was an unfortunate thing, at least, that he adopted a species of literary fiction which has generally been misunderstood, and has in various ways been productive of much more evil than good " (vol. ii. pp. 394, 395).
We welcome these words, for the testimony they give, in the name of truth and human nature, against the doctrine so popular of late with those who would persuade us that the fourth Gospel and half. the Epistles of St. Paul were wellmeant forgeries of the second century. But, if the Book of Daniel must be deprived of its place as a record of actual events and of original predictions, we are inclined to assign it a very high position as a work of imagination, inspired by patriotism and religion. It was written, we cannot doubt, to animate the Jews in their great struggle against Syrian oppression, by examples of patient endurance and divine protection in the past, and by indications of a glorious future. The materials were probably derived in part from traditions respecting Daniel and his companions at the court of Babylon, in part from the national expectation of the Messiah ; while the brilliant imagination of the writer added those touches which have given this singular book so great a mastery over the minds of men, — the “Fifth Monarchy," glorifying the dreams of English patriots when their vision of a Commonwealth had proved illusive, and“ Belsbazzar's Feast" presenting a favorite theme for the poet and the painter.
The peculiar structure of the book, written in two languages, suggests the idea, that it was the work of more than one author. If this was the case, the original writer was, in our opinion, the author of the Chaldee portion, extending from chap. ii. ver. 4, to the end of chap. vii. From the same hand, probably, was the short introductory part, which appears to be
in purer Hebrew than the concluding chapters. This was written apparently before the idea occurred to the author of adding an air of reality to his narrative, by writing it in the dialect of the court of Babylon. These portions include all the more striking narratives, and the sublime vision of the “Ancient of Days” (chap. vii. 9-14). Would that Dr. Noyes could have felt justified in retaining that glorious Chaldaism, instead of translating it "an aged one"! On the supposition we have made, the book was left in a fragmentary state, probably by the sudden death of its author, and was finished in Hebrew by another hand.
The works of the prophets must ever be of high value to the antiquarian, the scholar, and the man of poetic taste and religious feeling; but their chief interest must depend upon our conception of the nature of that inspiration from which they proceeded. In his Introduction to the present edition, Dr. Noyes enters more fully than he had done before into the question of inspiration. He tells us, very truly, that the office of a prophet among the Jews was not primarily that of predicting future events:
“No term by which the Hebrew prophet is denoted in the Old Testament means predicter.” — “His office was to proclaim the whole will of Jehovah to the Jewish people” (p. v). The prophets “ felt that their minds were illumined and moved by the holy spirit of God, and that the thoughts which they expressed in speech or writing, under his illumination and influence, were to be regarded as the word of God.” -“We have, however, no reason to suppose that the prophets of the Old Testament, any more than St. Paul and the prophets mentioned in the New Testament, connected the idea of absolute infallibility with inspiration. Nor do their writings afford any indications of such infallibility” (p. vi).
“ Had, then," he adds elsewhere, “the Hebrew prophets no criterion by which they and others might know that they were inspired by God, different from that which was possessed by Savonarola, Luther, Milton, or Fox? If they had, they have not told us what it was. It seems to follow, therefore, that infallibility ought not to be connected with the scriptural idea of inspiration. For mere strength of conviction that one is moved to think, speak, or write by the spirit
of God, or, which is the same thing, by divine inspiration, is not at the present day regarded as evidence that one is infallible” (p. viii).
The passage last quoted is illustrated by a note, in which the opinions of various eminent writers are adduced in support of the view here advanced. Dr. Noyes, however, contends that to deny the infallibility of the prophets does not deprive them of authority. He justly observes: “Our gov . ernors and judges do not deny the authority of the common or the Roman law, when they deny the infallibility of either” (p. xc).
He appears, however, to consider the inspiration of the Hebrew prophets as similar in nature to that which is granted to all earnest advocates of truth, and indeed to all who seek it, in every age:
“If it should still appear to any one strange that the prophets, even under the influence of the spirit of God, should claim, in a manner so emphatic, that their utterances were the word of God, and that they should prefix . Thus saith the Lord' to nearly all their discourses, let him consider that nearly all these discourses have for their object the establishment of the primary truths of religion and the most obvious duties of life, the quickening up of our minds to a more lively converse with those eternal truths of reason, which commonly lie buried in so much fleshly obscurity within us, that we discern them not;' and that even now, in modern times, according to the most approved philosophy, these primary truths of religion, these elementary principles of duty, are regarded as revealed to the mind by God, and immediately seen by the eyes of the soul. In other words, there are intuitive perceptions of truth and duty in all men, which are rightly acknowledged as an immediate, primary revelation from God.” — "If, then, the elements of religious truth and duty may be represented as a revelation from the Deity to the intuitive mind of man, it is easy to see how the prophets, with their views of the operations of the spirit of God, and of their own gifts and office under the theocratic government of his people, might honestly and intelligently speak as the representatives of God, and as uttering his word. Nor would they thus lay claim to infallibility, any more than religious VOL. LXXXIII. — NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. I.
philosophers of modern times lay claim to infallibility when they maintain the elementary principles of religion and morals to be an immediate revelation from God to the souls of men.
This connection of infallibility with inspiration, this entire separation of the natural from the supernatural, is a theological figment of more modern times” (pp. lxxxvi-lxxxvii).
Among the conclusions thus arrived at by this eminent theologian, we shall venture to draw a line of distinction. We agree with him, that absolute infallibility cannot be asserted of the Hebrew prophets, or of any other mortal men. But this admission does not prevent us from recognizing in them an inspiration, distinct from any that has been granted to other writers. On the contrary, it removes the great obstacle to the acknowledgment of such inspiration. As, in the historical books, the recognition of a human, fallible element relieves us from the necessity of defending the geology of Moses, and the treatment of enemies by Jael and David ; so does the recognition of a similar element in the prophetical books make it a matter of slight concern to us, if here and there a prediction can be proved to have been unfulfilled, or if the prophets, in foretelling some great event, blended their own imagination with the light given them from above.
Herein, we conceive, is the key to the Messianic prophecies. Our author enters into an examination of these in his Introduction, and also in the notes to the various passages as they
He shows satisfactorily that the Hebrew prophets anticipated for their country a royal Deliverer and a glorious future, the union of all nations in a common faith and service, while Judah and Jerusalem should be the splendid and happy centre of the universal and ever-enduring monarchy. A spiritual reformation was to be connected with this temporal deliverance, - an unending age of spiritual purity with this outward prosperity. Dr. Noyes conceives that this anticipation of the Jewish prophets differs so widely from its supposed fulfilment in Jesus Christ and his religion, that they could not have had these in view. Their predictions were
subjective, not objective. He admits, however, that the Divine Being who raised up the prophets may have foreseen, and revealed to the mind of Christ, that he was the destined instrument for accomplishing the purposes which the prophets had unfolded. He also admits that Christ " claimed to fulfil in some sense their predictions, and especially their predictions relating to the kingdom of God. He claimed to be a king, the head of the kingdom which the prophets had predicted as about to be established in the world” (vol. i. pp. Ixiv, lxv).
With these views, for the most part, we agree. The prophets had a very imperfect conception of the glories of the Messiah's kingdom; but the divine purposes, to whose accomplishment they looked forward, were truly fulfilled in Christ and his religion. We cannot, however, receive in its full extent the statement, that the Messianic predictions were not objective. We believe that the prophets had in view a real person, however imperfect may have been their conception of him. And the fact, that, while that person applied their predictions to himself, his greatness was of a nature that far transcended the most exalted visions of prophetic inspiration, constitutes to our mind an important proof of the divinity of his mission. The more fully it can be shown that the prophets had no conception of a peaceful, spiritual, self-denying Messiah, the greater the glory of the exalted soul that could look beyond their brilliant presentations of an earthly throne, to discern and to claim the true, divinely constituted royalty.
We believe that the prophets were inspired, in a manner different from other writers, however great or good. That difference we conceive to have been one, not of degree, but of kind. Had it been of degree merely, Isaiah might have given us sublimer poems than Homer: as it is, he has given us predictions, which have received their fulfilment in Christ. We distinguish, too, between the inspiration of these Hebrew bards, and that of other poets whose predictions have sometimes been peculiarly happy. An unknown Latin author, claiming the name of Seneca, foretold the discovery of